Alumnus turned Associate Instructor James Dreiling shares his unique take on the power of FourBlock.
James Dreiling is a U.S. Army veteran who completed FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program in New York City. Upon graduating from the program, Dreiling “sent the elevator back down” to future transitioning veterans by helping launch FourBlock Los Angeles in partnership with his current employer, The Walt Disney Company. His commitment to FourBlock has helped dozens of veterans on the West Coast receive free, expert-level career readiness education, while ensuring it’s accessible to hundreds more in the years to come. The following was written by Dreiling when asked about FourBlock’s impact on his transition back to civilian life.
Imagine getting on a plane to the exotic vacation of your dreams. You planned the trip for over a year, picked the perfect hotel, and arranged all the activities you were going to do. The travel agent promised you that you would land with VIP treatment. You get on the plane already relaxed because you know this is going to be the best time in your life.
You get off the plane to realize that you didn’t land at your destination. You’re not sure where you are and the people around you are speaking a different language. Your travel agent’s phone is no longer in service, you can’t find a hotel, and the airline lost your luggage. Where do you go for help?
Like a lot of veterans, I thought I was prepared to transition to an easy civilian life. I researched my post-military plans, went through the Army-provided resume and interview preparation, and even found a civilian mentor. I thought my dream career would be there as soon as I landed.
Within the first few weeks of my civilian life, I realized I was in trouble. My previous research was completely errant because I didn’t know what to look for. My resume and interviews were terrible because I couldn’t speak the language. My mentor couldn’t help me because I didn’t know what to ask for.
Now imagine getting off the plane in that strange destination, but you see a friendly face that speaks the language and shows you to the best spots in town. Your dream vacation resumes in ways you never thought possible.
FourBlock gave me more than just the traditional job searching skills. I now have the ability to plan my career and set the path with an effective network of colleagues and sponsors, which has led to my current and dream role with The Walt Disney Company. I now laugh (and cringe) at my early civilian days, but I know thousands of my veteran brothers and sisters struggle with the same issues I had. To help, I have joined FourBlock as an Associate Instructor so that every veteran landing in the civilian world has a friendly face to show them the way.